“Silly Christians,” Joe says with a smirk.
Joe (name changed) had been mocking Bear for the last week. Bear lives in Joe’s dorm and is attempting to bring the gospel to his fellow Native American students at Haskell University, home to representatives of almost 130 different tribal nations from around the United States. Bear is a student missionary sent from Student CPx this last year. Bear understands the need for students to carry the gospel into his college campus – Bear gave his life to Jesus and was baptized after a Student CPx student befriended him two years ago. To read Bear’s incredible story, click here.
An hour later, we see Joe again on campus. I’m filled with faith for this guy.
“Hey, man,” I say as I point my finger at him. “God’s got a great destiny for your life if you’ll stop running from him.”
He smirks at me and walks away. Yes, I feel powerful and mighty.
Twenty feet later, he suddenly stops in his tracks.
Joe turns around, walks back up the sidewalk, and comes up to Bear and I, with his gaze toward the ground.
Joe lights up a Marlboro Red cigarette and says, “Ok, I guess I’ll talk to you guys for a minute. Tell me more.”
We ask Joe some questions about his experiences with Jesus, the church, and Christianity. We tell Joe the simple story of how we came to believe in Jesus and how He changed our lives.
“Woah! I’ve got goose bumps!” Joe says as he responds to hearing our personal stories about Jesus. (When you tell a personal story of how Jesus has influenced you, it carries power. It’s almost like the Holy Spirit flows in a special way to others when you tell them stories of how you’ve experienced Jesus.)
Joe wasn’t ready to become a follower of Jesus yet, but his hunger was apparent. We prayed for Joe right there on the sidewalk, certain we would encounter him again really soon, especially since Bear is attempting to start simple church community in his residence hall where Joe and he live.
30 minutes later Bear and I walk to the Pow Wow grounds on campus. We’re carrying a large Native drum my good friend Will loaned me. Five of us gather to worship God. 2 of the students aren’t followers of Jesus yet. This is where the different tribes gather for festivals. This is where I first prayed with a student at Haskell to become a follower of Jesus a couple years ago.
I turn to the small group sitting around the drum.
“Have you ever heard the story of why Jesus came to earth?” I say.
“No, not really.”
I tell the gospel story, short and simple. God sent Jesus to call all nations and tribes into right relationship with the Creator and with each other. I tell briefly who He is. What He did. What He wants from us now….Then we invite students to worship God and Jesus on the drum.
We start to play.
We don’t know what we’re doing. I know that every movement among unreached people groups is accompanied by new forms of worship with styles and instruments that fit their culture. It seems as I’ve traveled the United States the last few years I’ve met a lot of pagans (I mean that in a nice way; I like pagans). Why not try something creative and different to reach them? I wonder. But it still feels a little silly to be sitting here playing this drum.
“Eeeeeya ya yaaaaaah!!!!!” Bear lets out a Native warrior cry to heaven at the top of his lungs.
I think I see a residence hall window shatter.
I’m scared. I think the devil might be, too. I feel like Kevin Costner walking into the Indian camp for the first time. I close my eyes and focus on Jesus, diverting my attention from the fact that it must look funny for a very obviously white guy to be playing a drum in the middle of this Pow Wow circle.
The time on the drum flows into some time of offering up prayers to God. We then take turns praying and prophesying over each other. It was simple. It wasn’t fancy. It’s just five of us. Encountering God on the drum. Singing songs to Jesus. Learning Jesus words. Praying and prophesying over each other.
I go home feeling like it was a semi-victory. I was hoping for more people. But it felt like good was done, friendships were strengthened, the Holy Spirit was present, and the gospel was spreading.
I’m reminded that every big thing God builds starts small. Every tree starts with a seed. Today we must re-learn the power of seeds – and equip people to spread them where they need to be planted the most.
Jesus talked a lot about seeds. He said the kingdom of God is like a man who went out and sowed seeds. I can’t help but think we need a massive restoration of understanding the power of “seed movements” – how the gospel spreads through lots of little seeds. I’m afraid we too often value the big over the small, the famous over the obscure, the flashy over the authentic, the conference over the prayer meeting, the large church over lots of small churches (that might grow into others).
Jesus became a seed, died, and bore much fruit.
Will you allow God to make you a seed to a dark place on your campus or in your city that needs Jesus?
Your work may not be immediately noticed (seeds seldom are). But God just might use you to plant seeds that grow into a movement that brings light to the dark places that need Jesus the most.
Connect with others who are seeding movements for the gospel on universities around the globe at StudentChurch.org